TURNER — At the beginning of the season, the expectations for Leavitt High’s football team were modest. Although the Hornets were the defending Class C state champions, they graduated much of that team, leaving some to expect a rebuilding season.

The Hornets didn’t necessarily share those expectations. And now they’re a victory away from getting back to the state championship game.

With Levi Craig throwing for two touchdowns and running for two more, top-ranked Leavitt overpowered fifth-seeded Yarmouth 30-6 in a Western Class C semifinal Friday night.

The Hornets (9-1), who have won nine straight, will be home for the regional final next weekend against third-seeded Wells, a 14-13 upset winner over Spruce Mountain.

Leavitt beat the Warriors 26-19 on Oct. 17.

“We’re going to have our work cut out for us,” said Hornets Coach Mike Hathaway. “They’re a physical team with a strong running game.”

Leavitt took control early. Yarmouth opened with an impressive first drive, picking up consecutive first downs to move to the Hornets’ 25.

But on second down there, John Thoma was sacked by Will Parkin and fumbled, with Kevin Knight of the Hornets recovering.

Craig promptly directed Leavitt to its first score, a 15-yard pass to Maxwell Green. Billy Bedard rushed the 2-point conversion and it was 8-0 after 5:16.

“Our defense played great tonight, getting that turnover,” said Craig. “We knew we had to score, turn the game in our corner.”

Yarmouth never got anything going offensively again in the first half – gaining just one more first down – and Leavitt jumped all over the Clippers (6-4).

The Hornets’ second drive ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by Craig, who completed two passes for 51 yards on the drive. Isaiah Calder rushed the conversion points and it was 16-0 with 4:16 remaining in the first.

Leavitt then scored on its first drive in the second quarter, Craig rushing in from the 9 for the touchdown.

The big play on that drive was a 19-yard pass to Mitchell Davis on a fourth-and-13 from the Yarmouth 33. Craig threw to Green for the conversion and it was 24-0.

“We knew that they had gotten a lot better with their passing game in the second part of the season,” said Clippers Coach Jason Veilleux.

“We tried to replicate that in practice and that’s the hardest thing to do. We did a good job trying to prepare for it, but it’s different when it’s in the game at game speed.”

Craig completed 18 of 25 passes for 305 yards, hitting seven receivers. He directed Leavitt on a 95-yard drive to start the third quarter, hitting Bedard for an 11-yard touchdown pass.

“It starts with the offensive line; they were giving Levi time to throw,” said Hathaway.

Yarmouth played a strong second half and got a fourth-quarter touchdown when Thoma threw an 8-yard pass to Jack Snyder.

Now the Hornets are playing in a game few expected them to be in this year.

“It’s a group of kids who really stuck together,” said Hathaway. “They really worked hard when kind of everyone else’s expectations were that we were going to take a step back this year. Those guys owned it and didn’t want that to happen.”